by Steve Barber
I don't remember exactly when I first became aware of it, but I have known for some time that people almost never die anymore. Don't believe me? Read the obituaries. You'll see. People pass away, pass on, or they're called Home to be with the Lord. But almost nobody dies. I'm not sure why this is, but I'm convinced that some people have gone to great lengths to make the language of death and dying confusing as all get out. Those people are called Obituary Writers.
People who write obits are the reason angels come to take some folks to Heaven while others apparently have to find their own way. But what if you're an atheist and don't believe in Heaven? What happens to you then? Who is there to guide you on your final journey, and where are you supposed to go anyhow? I'll bet the obit writers never thought of that one.
That's not all they haven't thought of. Here's more:
1. When someone dies from a nasty disease, why does he have to have a courageous battle first? Aren't there any dead cancer sufferers who gave up the minute they got their diagnosis?
2. Why, when people die, must they be either surrounded by their loving family or have their loving family by their side? I'll tell you this, if I were concerned about my health and felt my life slipping away, the last thing I'd do is let my family near my sickbed. There's a causal relationship between circling relatives and death. I'm sure of it.
3. Why can't I be sad when a friend or relative passes away? Why must I be bereaved instead? And did you know that when I go to the visitation, viewing or wake I won't see Uncle Rollo there, but I'll see Uncle Rollo's remains. His remains will, of course, be reposing in a slumber room. Why must dead people repose? Can't they simply lie there? And, you know, he's not exactly sleeping, so why do they put him in a slumber room?
4. When dead people repose, they must do so in a coffin or casket. Coffins and caskets are overpriced boxes that have handles on the side, the top door open, the bottom door closed and contain a satin pillow on which to rest Uncle Rollo's remains' head, not that he notices. Why do they call them coffins when what they are are boxes?
5. Uncle Rollo has had his jaw wired shut, little caps shoved up under his eyelids to keep his eyes closed, and his bodily fluids drained and replaced by noxious chemicals. The funeral home staff set his carcass under special soft lights and they've smeared makeup all over his visible body parts. Then people file past the casket and say, "My, my. Doesn't Uncle Rollo look natural?" Why do they do this and whom do they think they are kidding?
You want natural? I'll tell you what's natural. Cremation, that's what. Ashes to ashes and all that. And that's what I'm opting for when I finally cash in my chips, buy the farm, or exceed my 'sell by date.' But I promise you this. The first person that calls my ashes “creamains” is in for one heck of a haunting.
Steve Barber longed to be a shepherd, but never realized his childhood dream. Now, a lonely and bitter old man, he ekes out a marginal living by collecting returnable bottles, and by selling single cigarettes to small children. On rare occasions he blogs at http://whatdoyoumeanishouldstartablog.blogspot.com/